What is Eco Fashion?
Eco fashion is created using materials and processes that are environmentally friendly and do not have a negative impact on the health of the consumers. Typically, eco fashion designers use raw materials like organic cotton, wool, recycled textiles, natural bleaches, and non-toxic dyes.
Eco fashion also takes the working conditions of the people producing the products into consideration. Most eco-friendly fashion designers support fair trade practices like paying a decent wage to workers and providing them with fair working conditions.
Eco Fashion Design Courses
What any fashion designer needs the most is creativity. As in any other job, formal training and work experience are helpful but are not indispensable. Thus, Sena Cevik, a graphic designer and Seray Cengiz, a design manager, founded BOA Studios, a green fashion design company from Istanbul, Turkey. Neither of the founders had a background in fashion design.
Though it is not necessary, formal training can help develop the knack to pull space, color, texture, shape and myriad design elements together to create that one alluring creation.
A growing number of design schools and universities are offering courses and degree programs in sustainable fashion design. For example, the Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York offers workshops in sustainable design. Online courses are also available for the budding eco fashion designer.
Sustainable fashion courses may not necessarily be about “eco fashion” alone. Courses on sustainable marketing, sustainable design, responsible manufacturing, eco-friendly materials, and related topics can also go a long way in helping fashion designers marry fashion and sustainability.
Handling Your Doubts
Do you think that you are not familiar with the eco fashion industry? Remember that the eco fashion industry is new to most people. It is still evolving and rules are changing by the minute. If you have a creative spark and the desire to help the environment, you shall be limited only by your imagination.
Choices Abound For the Eco Fashion Designer
Besides recycled fabrics, organic cotton, and fair trade fibers there are a host of other materials for an eco fashion designer to experiment with. Who would have thought that recycled truck tires could be used to make iPhone covers, dried fish skin could be used in place of leather, or used 35 mm film could be used to make handbags? Other products enriching the choice of materials for an eco conscious designer include, but are not limited to, recycled parachutes, discarded shower curtains, and sustainably harvested cork.
Innovative Eco Fashion Companies
Wildlife Works has a pioneering concept of using consumption to fuel conservation. Wildlife Works operates an 80,000 acre wildlife sanctuary in Africa. It produces premium quality sportswear and other designs that are inspired by endangered species and their habitats. The clothes are made from environmentally friendly fabrics like organic cotton and hemp. The products are available in top boutiques, retail outlets and are sold online. Wildlife Works has also tied up with Edun, an ethical fashion company to invest in the growth and harvesting of sustainably harvested cotton.
At Nikster, the focus is on creating a diverse range of sexy products for the socially conscious woman. Their unique eco-friendly swimwear is created from natural fibers like organic cotton, bamboo, sustainable soy etc. Pearls, shells, stones and even coconuts are used to embellish the range of swimwear. Hand paintings, macramÃ©, beads are also used to create glamorous yet nature friendly designs. Nikster lends a helping hand by donating 5% of their gross sales to charities. They also contribute to organizations that are striving to protect endangered sea turtles.
Me to We Style is a new Canadian-based social enterprise that is committed to providing ethically manufactured, quality apparel for the socially conscious consumer. Their product line is locally produced, sweat-shop free, made using certified organic cotton and viscose from bamboo, and created to inspire a focus that is less on Me” and more on We” our communities, our nations, and our world.
Main Image Credit: Looking Glass